Organic Consumers Association

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350 Top Chefs Back Prop. 37 on Food Labeling

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our California News page.

More than 350 top chefs this week came out in favor of Proposition 37, the initiative that calls for labeling most foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, saying there is an "enormous stake in ensuring transparency in our food system."

Restaurateurs and chefs including Alice Waters, Mario Batali, Jacques Pepin, Charles Phan, Cat Cora and Joyce Goldstein have signed a petition of support.

"As chefs, we are on the frontlines of feeding America," the petition said. "It is our duty to nourish our guests, both in body and soul. However, we can't prepare the best food we know how when information about the ingredients we purchase is hidden from us with labels that are missing basic facts."

Opponents - scientists, food companies and agribusiness - of the November ballot measure argue that genetically modified foods have been deemed safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration and that having to label them creates a stigma that simply doesn't exist.

They also argue that it will cost households as much as $400 more in grocery bills annually because manufacturers will have to pass on the cost of having special labels just in California, or for having to use more expensive, non-genetically modified ingredients.

In addition, they argue that the measure would expose grocery retailers, food companies and farmers to frivolous lawsuits.

Even though the initiative would not require restaurants to divulge whether the food it serves has been genetically modified, the chefs said the legislation will at least allow them to knowingly source foods without genetically modified ingredients.
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